Disappointing: NT Minister Nicole Manison Denigrates Scientists, Backs Beetaloo Fracking


In an extraordinary press conference in Darwin today, the NT Deputy Chief Minister denigrated 96 leading scientists and experts who had this morning called the NT Government to respect climate science by halting fracking expansion in full page ads, by suggesting ‘those people be a bit more practical and level-headed’, while announcing the NT would proceed to open up to 1.4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in the Beetaloo Basin via fracking.

Experts say that by ignoring warnings from scientists, recommendation 9.8 from the Pepper Inquiry and a Senate Inquiry into Beetaloo Fracking, the NT Government has undermined Australia’s climate policy and put our future at risk.

Key Points:

  • The Beetaloo basin will pollute up to 1.4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas over its lifetime according to Reputex, equivalent to 2.5 times Australia’s total annual emissions
  • Claims that the NT Government has implemented all recommendations from the Pepper Inquiry, including 9.8, are untrue as there is no requirement or agreement to offset emissions from burning the gas in Australia
  • Independent Oversight Commissioner to NT Fracking Inquiry Dr. David Ritchie has published a letter confirming 9.8 is not implemented (see below)
  • Recommendation 9.8 of the Pepper Inquiry reads, ‘that the NT and Australian governments seek to ensure that there is no net increase in the life cycle GHG emissions emitted in Australia from any onshore shale gas produced in the NT.’
  • Even if all domestic emissions were offset in line with recommendation 9.8, these only represent a small fraction of the emissions as most of the gas is for export
  • Despite justifications offered today, AEMO has said clearly that demand for gas on east coast is falling (see below)
  • The minister could not answer questions on jobs today, but an earlier expert report commissioned by the NT Government has found that fracking will not result in many new net jobs
  • The report found “The total employment impact of the Industry development under the GALE scenario is minimal, due to the resulting draw on labour from other industries in the Territory and other parts of Australia.” Pg 127
  • The gas industry is a tiny employer, employing only 0.2% of the Australian workforce

“Deputy Chief Minister Manison started her press conference today claiming to respect science. It is disappointing that she chose to finish it by denigrating 96 scientists, experts and prominent Australians and greenlighting up to 1.4 billion tonnes of fracking emissions in the NT,” said Mark Ogge, Principal Adviser at the Australia Institute.

“It would be practical and level-headed of the Minister to respect the climate science, experts from the NT, warnings from the United Nations and the International Energy Agency all of which say we can not continue to open up new fossil fuel projects without fuelling catastrophic climate change.

“Failing that, the NT Government should follow through on its own 2018 commitment to implement all the recommendations of the Pepper Inquiry.

“By posing a false binary between non-existent coal-fired power stations in the NT that no one is planning to build, and this enormous expansion of gas fracking, the Minister is treating all Territorians and scientists like fools.

“The up to 1.4b tonnes of greenhouse gas resulting from fracking in the NT will not only wreck the climate of the NT, but it will wreck the climate for the rest of Australia and have global significance.

“This gas is largely for export. So today’s decision means the NT Government continues to support a handful of largely foreign owned gas companies, who pay little to no tax, fuelling climate change at the expense of the community.”

Actual and forecast annual gas consumption for electricity generation

Excerpt of Open letter in Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, NT News today:

Excerpt from Dr. David Richie Letter confirming 9.8 has not been implemented